Tuesday, October 11, 2022 12:39 AM
Some of us can remember a time when video could only be seen on the living room TV, and viewing options were limited to whatever the local stations were showing. Now it’s everywhere, and anyone with a smartphone is a budding videographer. One of the benefits of this proliferation of video capabilities is that almost anyone with can share their message with the world—and they usually share it on YouTube.
Saturday, April 23, 2022 1:29 AM
The story is the same anywhere you look – favorite foods missing from the grocery store shelves, restaurants and shops shortening their hours, delays in getting prescriptions filled. It’s no surprise when you consider that according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in 2021 47.4 million people voluntarily left their jobs – a phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation.” The situation has affected nearly every type of business, including optical labs.
Sunday, February 6, 2022 3:00 AM
For decades, lens suppliers have expanded their lab networks through acquisition, achieving a level of consolidation that independents can find hard to compete with. At the same time, private equity firms are consolidating formerly independent practices into ever-larger groups. Pacific Artisan Labs (PAL), an independent lab based in Portland, Ore., is bucking this trend toward top-down consolidation by reversing it—creating a grassroots consolidation that invites independent ECPs to become ownership partners in their growing lab network.
Monday, October 25, 2021 1:00 AM
The term “work in progress” accurately defines most prescription optical laboratories. No matter how smoothly a lab may be running, there’s always something that needs updating or replacing, whether it’s adding a single piece of equipment, reengineering an entire production line or even building a whole facility. It’s an endless cycle of invention and reinvention, and labs must learn to adjust to it while continuing to service customers, a challenge which can be daunting for any business.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:59 AM
Synopsis: In May, 2020, Cherry Optical Lab began a major expansion and equipment upgrade project adding 6,500 square feet of production and creating a four-building campus. Company president Adam Cherry described how the complex process unfolded, and what resulted.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:58 AM
Synopsis: Zeiss recently completed a multi-year, $20 million reengineering project at their flagship lab in Hebron, Kentucky. Barry Lannon, head of lab operations and supply chain for Carl Zeiss Vision, managed the Industry 4.0 process. He explained what it took to plan and execute the multi-level project, and how Zeiss customers are benefitting from the upgrade.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:57 AM
Synopsis: LBC Optics services Wisconsin Vision’s 38 stores. The regional retailer was ranked 31st in Vision Monday’s 2020 Top Retailer ranking. LBC’s reengineering project was two-fold. The first was constructing a new conveyor line that could transfer job trays automatically using existing equipment that has the capability to function in this capacity. Second was installing a new control stacker and two new auto polishers to complete a line that produced 100 lenses/hour from blocker to final wash station.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:56 AM
Synopsis: Plastic Plus underwent major expansions in 2008 and 2017, and is currently adding new equipment. (Most of this report refers to the 2017 expansion.) Lab owner and president Paul Faibish offered an inside perspective on how the lab was transformed by new technologies.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:55 AM
Synopsis: Wisconsin Vision Associates (WVA) is in the midst of a reengineering process that will more than double the lab’s capacity. WVA’s vice president for operations, Jeffery Erickson, discussed the goals of the project and the many steps involved in bringing it to fruition.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:54 AM
Satisloh, a leading supplier of lens processing systems and equipment, has developed this checklist of important items for labs to consider when undertaking a reengineering project, and the key success factors for such a project.
Monday, August 2, 2021 1:45 AM
Private label brands, also known as house brands (or somewhat less kindly, generic products) are a common feature of grocery stores, providing shoppers with a lower-priced alternative to well-known and trusted brands. Often they are relegated to the lower shelves, with brand names occupying the coveted eye-level spots. Optical labs have sometimes referred to themselves as “grocery stores,” offering their customers a wide range of branded products to suit their preferences. As relationships with manufacturers evolved, some labs would give a particular name-brand prominence over others. Often labs would also offer a private label as a lower-priced, lower-shelf alternative. Today, some independent labs are flipping the script on brands, positioning their private-label in the foreground as their go-to product line, while offering established brands as alternatives. To understand this new phenomenon, we spoke to three independent lab execs whose labs are using this approach and having success with it.
Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:30 AM
The optical industry is often viewed as a family: it is relatively small, as industries go, and it often seems like everybody knows everyone else. But many optical businesses, including labs, are literally family affairs passed on from one generation to the next, creating a continuity of culture and customer relationships. To understand the attraction, advantages and the rewards of working in the family business, VM
spoke to four lab leaders who are following in their parents’ footsteps and creating new ones of their own.
Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:29 AM
The first two decades of the 21st century have seen many new developments and large investments in lab automation. Automating functions increases efficiency, reduces turnaround time and points of failure in lens fabrication and finishing, and almost everyone who knows the lab business would agree that the changes are for the best.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 6:29 PM
With the optical lab landscape seemingly dominated by manufacturers’ networks and a few large independent labs, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is no room in the market for new players. Yet optical veterans continue to find fertile ground for the establishment of new small independent labs, and success is following.
Monday, November 2, 2020 12:30 AM
In the first days of the coronavirus pandemic, as states and municipalities began issuing shutdown orders, optical retailers and optometric practices across the country went into shock. With many offices closed and eyeglass shipments disrupted, the situation was chaotic.
“When everyone literally had the rug pulled out from under them, no previous systems you had in place were going to be helpful when you’re winging it,” recalled optician Ruth Domber, who co-owns 10/10 Optics, a popular optical boutique and optometric practice in New York City.